Ross Divine, owner of Gun Town in Grovertown, said he’s been selling more guns since the day of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy.
“Sales are up about 500 percent,” said Divine Thursday, less than three weeks after the Newtown shooting. “The day of the shooting, that Friday, sales went up. It’s connected with the publicity surrounding gun control, not so much the shooting at the school.”
Divine said that customers are purchasing guns in fear that they will be banned by the government.
“ARs, AK-47s, they are not available anywhere,” said Divine. “We’ve sold them all out. We don’t have any, and our distributors don’t have any. Manufacturers can only make so many so fast.”
Assault rifles and high-capacity handguns are all hot sellers right now, said Divine.
He compared the rush to buy guns to bad weather reports.
“You hear that there’s a blizzard coming in, and you go out to buy milk and eggs, and there are no milk and eggs because everyone did the same thing,” said Divine. “People are saying, just in case, we will go ahead and get a gun.”
Divine noted that most of the guns sold in the past three weeks have been second and third gun purchases.
“We haven’t had many gun newbies,” said Divine.
He doesn’t believe that the jump in sales will last.
“I think it will slow down, I really don’t think politicians are going to do much (to ban guns),” said Divine. “This is good for business short term, but long term any gun control would not be too good for business. People will still buy guns, but in lower capacities. It’s kind of like the guy who banned large sodas in New York City…people will just buy two small sodas.”
Bruce Walton, owner of Bruce’s Reload Shop in Argos, said he’s had calls “one right after another” from people placing gun orders.
Walton’s shop has been open since 1964, but he stopped keeping guns in the store about 10 years ago. Now, he places orders for people interested in buying. His main business is custom loading for target shooters.
“It’s just gone crazy (since the Newtown shooting),” said Walton, adding that he gets between 30 and 40 calls for gun orders a day.
“Somebody does one stupid thing and everyone goes into a panic,” said Walton.
He added that most of his customers say they are buying a gun for personal protection.
“I don’t blame them,” said Walton. “There’s too many crazy people out there.”
A spokesperson for Wal-Mart, another local gun retailer, said that the company does not release sales information on specific products and cannot say if gun sales have gone up recently.
“We understand that there are a lot of views on this topic and that the country is about to engage in a national conversation about the sale and regulation of certain firearms,” said Wal-Mart’s Director of National Media Relations Kory Lundberg via email.
Lundberg added, “Wal-Mart is thoughtful about the types of firearms we sell and where we sell them.”
According to Lundberg, Wal-Mart does not sell any handguns in the continental United States or high capacity magazines as an accessory. The company currently limits sales of MSRs to less than one third of its stores and firearms are not available for purchase online at walmart.com.